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Beyond Prisons is a podcast on justice, mass incarceration, and prison abolition. Hosted by @phillyprof03 & @bsonenstein Support us at

Beyond Prisons is a podcast on justice, mass incarceration, and prison abolition. Hosted by @phillyprof03 & @bsonenstein Support us at
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Beyond Prisons is a podcast on justice, mass incarceration, and prison abolition. Hosted by @phillyprof03 & @bsonenstein Support us at






Abolition Is A Horizon feat. Sarah K. Tyson

CONTENT WARNING: SEXUAL VIOLENCE, CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE Sarah K. Tyson joins Beyond Prisons for a conversation about her work as a philosopher, anti-violence advocate, and prison educator. We explore the contradiction between anti-violence work and its reliance on the criminal punishment system, what it's like to do philosophy in prison, the importance of building relationships with people inside, and so much more. Sarah Tyson is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Affiliated Faculty of...


Voting Rights feat. Maya Schenwar

Maya Schenwar returns to Beyond Prisons to discuss voting rights, the current political landscape, and her forthcoming book. Maya is the Editor-in-Chief of Truthout. She is also the author of "Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better" and the co-editor of the Truthout anthology "Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States." She has written about the prison-industrial complex for Truthout, The New York Times, The...


Native Feminisms feat. Dr. Kimberly Robertson

Kim Wilson interviews Dr. Kimberly Robertson on her work on Native feminisms and practices, use of beadwork and zine making to generate knowledge, and the uncompensated emotional labor of Black and women of color in the academy and liberatory work. Kimberly Robertson is a citizen of the Mvskoke nation, an artivist, scholar, teacher, and mother who works diligently to employ Native feminist theories, practices, and methodologies in her hustle to fulfill the dreams of her ancestors and to...


Message from Liberation Through Reading

The following is a quick message delivered on behalf of our friends at Liberation Through Reading. They have an event coming up in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, April 13th at the A-Space (4722 Baltimore Avenue) from 12PM-4PM, gifting Black children with free Black books. Details are below. Contact Erica Caines at -- In almost 2 years, #LiberationThroughReading has gifted well over 1000 BRAND NEW representative books to Black children of all reading levels. Each book...


Political Education feat. Rachel Herzing

Rachel Herzing joins Beyond Prisons for a conversation on political education, transformation, and more. Rachel is the co-director of Center for Political Education, a resource for political organizations on the left, progressive social movements, the working class and people of color. She has been an organizer, activist, and advocate fighting the violence of policing and imprisonment for over 20 years. She is a co-founder of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization...


Knitting In Prison (feat. Taylar Nuevelle)

Taylar Nuevelle joins the Beyond Prisons podcast to talk about her experiences knitting while incarcerated. In particular, we talk about her love of knitting, the space it created for her in prison, as well as how it was used to punish her. Ms. Nuevelle is a writer and advocate for justice-involved women. In 2017 she created a writing program at the Central Treatment Facility (CTF), the women’s jail in DC, “Sharing Our Stories to Reclaim Our Lives”. She is credited for creating the concept...


PA DOC Targets Educators & Volunteers (feat. Connie Grier)

Connie Grier joins Beyond Prisons to discuss a new policy in Pennsylvania prisons targeting materials brought in by educators, religious practitioners, recreational and therapeutic facilitators, and others. Connie is a mother of twin sons, a career educator, a mentor, and a social justice advocate. She is also the founder of The RESPECT Alliance, an organization which has, as one of its core tenets, the addressing of justice issues that impact marginalized populations both pre and...


Transformative Justice & Pod Mapping

In the first episode of 2019, hosts Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein begin a conversation on transformative justice by discussing the concept of “Pods” and the process of “Pod-mapping.” These exercises involve developing skills and identifying relationships that are key to intervening in harm and providing the kind of support that accountability can demand. Listeners can learn more and follow this conversation more closely via the following materials: Pods and Pod-Mapping WorksheetCreative...


Jail Free NYC feat. Nabil Hassein

Nabil Hassein joins the Beyond Prisons podcast to give an update on the campaign to close Rikers Island and the fight to oppose new jail construction in New York City. Nabil is a technologist, organizer and educator based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He has worked professionally as a software developer and a teacher in both public schools and private settings. Nabil also works with grassroots police and prison abolitionist campaigns in NYC including Shut Down Rikers, Abolition Square and No...


Prison Reporting

Kim and Brian share their thoughts and best practices for journalists looking to improve their reporting on incarceration and related issues. Even if you’re not a journalist, we think this is a conversation you should be in on because it may help you read between the lines and evaluate media sources that cover these issues on your own. Consider this a starting point for getting these thoughts and ideas out into the open, for developing a new paradigm for this particular kind of journalism,...


Kempis "Ghani" Songster (Part 2)

Kim Wilson speaks with formerly incarcerated activist Kempis “Ghani” Songster about the black liberation group MOVE in the second part of episode 29. (Listen to Part 1 here). MOVE's Philadelphia home was bombed by a police helicopter in 1985. The attack killed eleven people—including five children—and resulted in the destruction of 65 houses in the neighborhood. There were only two survivors. Ghani and Kim also talk about plans to rename a block of North 59th Street for Mayor Wilson...


Kempis "Ghani" Songster

Kim Wilson interviews formerly incarcerated activist Kempis "Ghani" Songster in part one of Beyond Prisons episode 29. In 1987, at the age of 15, Ghani was imprisoned for homicide. Despite his age, he was certified as an adult, convicted of first degree murder, and given a mandatory life sentence without parole, or what is increasingly known today as death by incarceration. Thus, he became one of America’s many juvenile lifers/condemned children. While in prison, he developed and...


Prison Strike 2018

Jared Ware joins episode 28 of Beyond Prisons to discuss this year's prison strike. Recorded in the midst of the strike on August 30, co-hosts Brian Sonenstein and Kim Wilson have a conversation with Ware about the strike's progress, as well as the challenges of organizing and why the press is woefully unprepared to report on the action. Support our show and join us on Patreon. Please listen, subscribe, and rate/review our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and on Google Play Join our mailing...


Sean Damon

Activist and paralegal Sean Damon joins episode 27 of Beyond Prisons. Sean is a legal worker and organizer with twenty years of experience in union, community and social movement organizing. He works for Amistad Law Project, a West Philadelphia-based public interest law center focused on the human rights of incarcerated people. He is also a co-founding member of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration. Follow Sean on Twitter: @seanwestwispy Support our show and join us on...


John Gillespie Jr. (aka swim.)

TRIGGER WARNING: Content includes discussion of suicide. John Gillespie Jr. (aka swim.) is an incoming PhD student in UC Irvine’s Comparative Literature program, a poet and a recording artist hailing from Newark, Delaware currently based in Orange County, California. His research interest are in Black suicide, the relationship between scientific development (specifically the Internet and Medicine) and anti-Black racism, as well as theories of Black aesthetics. He recently released his...


Fight Toxic Prisons

Panagioti Tsolkas, an organizer with the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons, joins the Beyond Prisons podcast for a discussion of prison ecology and the intersection between the criminal legal system and the environment. We talk about how his organization came into existence and he gives us some examples of issues they're working on in Florida (where they're based) and around the country, like access potable water, excessive heat and cold, mold and mildew, sewage problems, and toxic land use....


Bret Grote of Abolitionist Law Center

Bret Grote, legal director for the Abolitionist Law Center, joins the Beyond Prisons podcast to tell us about his organization's work and what an abolitionist approach looks like for lawyers. The conversation touches on the impact the Abolitionist Law Center has had in Pennsylvania and the work it's done on solitary confinement, juvenile life without parole, health care, and more. We talk about political and politicized prisoners and the dangerous but common practice of withholding medicine...


Prison Publications feat. Victoria Law

Victoria Law returns to the Beyond Prisons podcast to talk about prison publications and curating art and writing by incarcerated people. Victoria tells us about the zine she's organized for nearly 16 years, Tenacious, which is a DIY publication featuring the work of incarcerated women from around the country. She talks about her introduction to zines, her experiences curating content from incarcerated people, and how she's had to deal with obstacles to communication in putting the zine...


Pen Pals (Part 2)

In a special two-part episode of Beyond Prisons, we discuss communicating with incarcerated people and interview pen pal and activist Ciara Kay. Ciara Kay joins us in Part 2 to tell us about how she got involved with pen palling and her experience corresponding and organizing with Michael Young, who is incarcerated in Louisiana. She talks about their friendship over the past few years, as well as their work and the challenges they've faced countering retaliation Michael has experienced for...


Pen Pals (Part 1)

In a special two-part episode of Beyond Prisons, we discuss communicating with incarcerated people and interview pen pal and activist Ciara Kay. In Part 1, we talk about forming relationships with people on the inside through email, phone, or snail mail and the obstacles you face attempting each. We also discuss how pen palling, building relationships, and maintaining communication with people on the inside is an abolitionist practice. Finally, we cover the importance of earning each...